MANILA, Philippines – Ten suspected members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) allegedly involved in the clash with government troops in Zamboanga City early Monday have been arrested, police said.
Police Chief Inspector Ariel Huesca, Region IX police spokesman, said five “unarmed” rebels were arrested at around 8:30 a.m. – some of them were wearing MNLF uniforms during the arrest while the others had their uniforms inside their bags.
Asked if they were still considered as among those involved in the firefight even if they were unarmed when arrested, Huesca said he could not ascertain their exact involvement, but said that cases will be filed against them if there would be witnesses who would identify them as among the attackers.
The five others, on the other hand, were arrested Sunday evening after they were seen in military uniforms and were carrying unlicensed firearms.
“They introduced themselves as MNLF members,” Huesca said.
As of posting, Huesca said roughly 20 civilians were still being held hostage by the rebels inside Barangay (village) Sta. Catalina where the rebels were contained by authorities.
They used the civilians as “human shield,” he said.
“Hindi naman talaga bawal [ang MNLF sa Zamboanga City]. Nagiging bawal pag nagdala sila ng baril at nag suot sila ng uniform. Wala namang bawal as long as lahat ng gagawin mo ay in accordance with existing laws,” Huesca said.